Mozambique: Water Crises in Maputo and Nampula

Maputo — The Greater Maputo Metropolitan Region could face restrictions in its water supply, unless it rains heavily in southern Mozambique in the near future.

At a Maputo press conference on Wednesday, Jose Malanco, the head of information in the National Directorate of Water Resource Management, said that the level of water in the reservoir at the Pequenos Libombos dam, the main source of drinking water for greater Maputo, has fallen dangerously low.

The reservoir (which can hold about 400 million cubic metres of water) is only 18 per cent full, compared with 26 per cent at the same time last year.

"The forecast is that, if this scenario of shortage of rainfall continues, restrictive measures could probably be taken in terms of supplying water to Maputo", said Malanco. In the past this has meant pumping water to each neighbourhood of the city only every other day.

Despite the low level of the reservoir, so far there have been no restrictions. Malanco said that the supply of water for public consumption is 100 per cent of normal levels - but only 30 per cent of water needed for irrigated agriculture in Greater Maputo is being supplied.

The northern city of Nampula is also facing a water crisis. The dam on the Monapo river which provides most of the city's water is only 22 per cent full.

The government's Water Supply Investment and Assets Fund (FIPAG) is mounting emergency pumps in an attempt to extract more water from the Monapo reservoir.

Elidio Khossa, the Director of the Central Operational Services of FIPAG, told reporters that the Nampula system is currently pumping only 13,000 cubic metres of water a day, rather than the normal 40,000.

Other measures, Khossa said, include opening more boreholes in the Namiteca well-field, on the outskirts of the city, which will supply water for tanker trucks, and installing a further 31 standpipes in critical parts of the city. He thought the measures being taken might increase capacity by up to 20,000 cubic metres of water a day.

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